Author's note: Thanks to gategrrl for betaing!

Chapter 1 - Ladies in Distress

"So, any word on how Chanah's doing?" Doc Frasier asked Colonel Jack O'Neill.

The petite doctor was administering a transdermal patch with Goa'uld killing toxin to Jack's neck. Virtually all SGC members who went off world had opted to use the patches which prevented the Goa'uld from taking them as hosts. Upon penetration of the area where the patch was applied, the toxin would be activated. The Goa'uld would flee the body immediately, never blending with the host, and die quickly. Jack had been saved by this patch once already. He intended never to leave home without one.

These patches and the toxin were obtained as a result of a mission SG-1 completed over a month ago. On that mission, Jack met a woman named Chanah who was killing Goa'uld and their larva, and curing the Jaffa's immune systems freeing them from slavery.

Chanah was disturbingly like Jack as he had been on Abydos on his first mission through the gate. A year earlier she'd lost her husband and unborn baby to the Goa'uld. Then her young son shunned her, blaming her for his father's death. Since that time, she'd been carrying on her missions as a sleepwalker, moving solely out of a sense of duty. SG-1's arrival had allowed her to pass on her mission directly to the Jaffa, and to begin what she called a new path. A path to death.

Jack saw himself in her, and for reasons he would be hard pressed to explain later, put himself at grave risk to save her. He tried to do for Chanah what Daniel Jackson had done for him: to help her feel something again other than grief and blame, to hold out some tiny hope for the future that would inspire her to keep living.

To get her to deal with her demons, Jack had to extend himself in a way he never had before – by revealing some of his own personal hells. After that it all got a little weird. There was that whole funky thing where under the guise of play and humor, they disclosed the horrors they had each suffered in their lives by comparing their abundant scars. That turned into foreplay and then, well, a very nice interlude in a cave in the middle of enemy territory.

Then things turned ugly. There was capture and torture at the hands of that "freaking pervert Babi" as Jack called him. Chanah suffered worse than Jack; the Goa'uld carved her up and even chomped on her entrails before reviving her in the sarcophagus. Yet in the end, it was Chanah who saved Jack by having secretly applied the toxin patch to his neck days earlier. Babi was about to rape Jack. As Chanah explained later, Jack just got lucky; the Goa'uld was a biter.

When they parted ways, Chanah and her son had begun to reconcile, thanks to Daniel Jackson's intervention. Jack was hopeful that she would be all right eventually, although he knew that coming back from that kind of torture was difficult. He even thought there was a real chance she and her son would take him up on his fishing offer. But he had heard nothing from them yet.

Doc's innocent question jarred him into thinking about the whole episode again. It had all been so weird, it was almost unreal now.

"Colonel, did you hear me? Any word on how Chanah's doing?"

Jack snapped out of his contemplation.

"Uh, yeah Doc. No idea." His answer was truthful, but hearing the question stirred up pangs of emotions – guilt, disappointment, lust, regret – that he'd just as soon avoid.

"Didn't you invite her son to go fishing?"

"Haven't gotten an RSVP yet."

"I understand that Sam is going back to visit the Tinkerer again tomorrow. Maybe you could renew the offer."

"Huh? Yeah, I guess."

"I think it would be a good idea, Colonel."

"Okay, what's up doc?"

"So much for subtlety," Janet Frasier shrugged. "Sam's been there a few times in the last two weeks. She hasn't seen Chanah once. I think she got the impression from the Tinkerer that Chanah's not doing too well."

"Can we be a little more specific?"

"Sounds like Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome to me, Colonel. It would hardly be unexpected."

"Ya think?" Jack's sarcasm was defensive. He'd been lying low hoping to hear from Chanah, all the while aware that things might not be going so smoothly for her without a support system like his friends and teammates at the SGC to help. The love of an eleven year old child might be motivation to stay alive, but a child couldn't help with the depression and nightmares that followed torture as she had experienced.

"Don't bite me. I'm just the messenger."

"For Carter? Why?"

"Sam's got a little problem of her own to deal with right now, Colonel."

"What are you today, the official bearer of bad tidings?"

"General Hammond asked me to talk to you about Sam. She's the only SGC field officer to refuse the toxin patch. The General hasn't made it mandatory yet because, frankly, there was no need. Just about everybody lined up to get one. Most of the women took an additional patch in a second location. The General is considering ordering Sam to take the patch or removing her from field duty."

"Goddamn Tok'ra."

"Colonel, Jacob's her father. She doesn't want to put him at risk inadvertently."

"Jacob would be the first one to tell her to do it."

"Probably, but I don't think she's discussed it with him."

"Any other doom and gloom to report, Doc?" Jack asked getting up to leave.

"That's all for now, sir. I'll keep you posted." Doc gave him an impish smile. She didn't envy him the burdens of command.